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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2023
Print publication year:
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Book description

What happens in the brain when learning a second language? Can speaking more than one language provide cognitive benefits over a lifetime? What implications does an increase in bilingualism have for society? And what are the factors that can promote and support bilingualism in children and adults? This book – a translated and adapted version of Il Cervello Bilingue (2020) - answers these questions and more, providing the reader with a comprehensive yet concise guide on different topics related to bilingualism. Based on the results of the most recent studies conducted internationally, it discusses recent research findings, explains terminology, and elaborates on the current state of the field, with the aim of providing families and society with suggestions about how to encourage bilingualism. Written in an engaging and accessible style, it takes both academics and readers with no prior knowledge of the field on a journey into the bilingual brain.


‘Garraffa, Sorace and Vender provide a lucid and comprehensive introduction to the fascinating topic of bilingualism. The lifespan approach highlights the relevance and significance of bilingualism to individuals and society. Schwieter has done a great service to us all by translating and adapting the book into English, making it accessible to many more readers across the world.’

Li Wei - Director and Dean, University College London, Institute of Education

‘Why does bilingualism matter? Although the active use of two or more languages is common, bilingualism continues to be misunderstood. The consequences of that misunderstanding are deep, with implications for development and education in the earliest years of life and for health across the lifespan. This book provides a much needed accessible overview of the science of language learning and bilingualism. It celebrates the idea that the variation in human experience that is reflected in language is actually the norm rather than the exception, with bilingual brains that adapt and flourish when language learning is supported. Bilinguals matters because people matter and because language is with us everywhere.’

Judith Kroll - University of California

‘This is a very accessible and comprehensive introduction to bilingualism, from language development in childhood to the neurological correlates of knowing two languages. Garraffa, Sorace, and Vender have managed to find the right tone of voice to present the often complex and nuanced research-based evidence in a way that is informative and easy to read. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone interested in finding out more about the many and fascinating facets of bilingualism.’

Ludovica Serratrice - University of Reading

‘… as a speech and language therapist, I was particularly delighted to see the inclusion of bilingualism in Developmental Language Disorder and other contexts not usually discussed. The emphasis on the evidence-base, and the positive outcomes of being bilingual are clearly articulated. This engaging and thought-provoking book will challenge the reader to change their preconceptions of bilingualism’.

Sean Pert - The University of Manchester, Chair RCSLT

‘Bilingualism Matters is an excellent resource for teachers, parents and researchers interested in bilingualism to access research from a neuroscience perspective to support their work. I will draw on this resource to advocate for bilingual programs, and to support my social science research with interdisciplinary evidence. I recommend this book to anyone seeking an accessible resource which summarises key neuroscience findings in relation to bilingualism across the lifespan.’

Ruth Fielding - Monash University

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